La Paz County Superior Court Judge Jessica Quickle has been reprimanded by the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct. In an order handed down June 11 and signed by Commission Chair Louis Frank Dominguez, Quickle was ordered to complete trainings from the National Judicial College on leadership and mindfulness for judges.
The order came about because of a complaint filed Oct. 16, 2020. Two specific incidents were referenced in the order. In the first, which occurred Sept. 11, 2020, Quickle was presiding over a hearing via Zoom when she was disconnected. When she was reconnected, the order said she stated in a “sharp tone” how unhappy she was and she did not understand why she was thrown off Zoom. The court clerk for the hearing, who was identified as “S.H.,” was upset by Quickle’s comments.
“Her (Quickle’s) comments were heard by the attorneys and litigants, and the clerk felt embarrassed and belittled by the comments,” the order said.
In the second incident, which occurred Oct. 16, 2020, Quickle allegedly was angered that parties and attorneys for a scheduled matter had been allowed into the courtroom before a designated time. The order stated she yelled at the clerk, S.H., until she learned another court employee had allowed the parties to enter the courtroom.
According to the commission’s order, Quickle went to discuss the matter with then-Clerk of the Superior Court Megan Spielman. She allegedly slammed her door and other court employees could hear her yelling at Spielman.
Spielman is now the La Paz County Administrator.
The commission investigated the matter and confirmed these two incidents. The investigation also found a pattern of Quickle “yelling or using an angry, rapid-fire tone with individuals during the time she has been on the bench.”
The commission’s order noted court employees they spoke with all reported a recent improvement in Quickle’s behavior. Quickle stated she had “re-evaluated” her interactions with staff and others with the goal of avoiding any misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
The commission found Quickle’s conduct violated Rule 2.8(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The rule states, in part, “A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.”
Quickle has been ordered to complete two courses offered by the National Judicial College, Leadership for Judges and Mindfulness for Judges. She must complete these courses within one year and send proof of completion to the commission.
Quickle was elected to the bench in November 2018, defeating her opponent, Karen Hobbs, by a margin of just 24 votes. She replaced Matthew Newman, and is the first woman to preside over the La Paz County Superior Court. She was sworn in Jan. 7, 2019, and was invested Jan. 26, 2019.
Prior to being elected Judge, Quickle had extensive legal experience in the area, including serving as a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor.